You’re probably thinking that this heading is a joke, right? A stress-free Christmas? Really? Well, yes. It can be done and you could – wait for it – actually end up having fun! However, like all such things it’s all about planning ahead and being cunning.
The Present Cupboard
To start with you need to create your very own Present Cupboard. This handy and rather genius invention will save the day when it comes to Christmas (and birthday parties too). Don’t worry if you haven’t managed it this year; you’ll be able to start on 26 December when you store up any of the lesser-loved or ignored Christmas gifts. No one will notice! Be sure to note who these are from, though, so they don’t find their way back to them next year!
Pop things like discount Christmas wrapping paper, cards, toys, and a notepad with a pen into the cupboard. The latter is to write down hints given by family members and friends over the year so your presents are always what people wanted, and you never struggle for ideas.
Stress-free Christmas shopping is about not spending too much money. It’s wonderful when you are scooping up gifts and enjoying the buzz, but not when you get the bill at the end of the month. Research has shown that money puts us under enormous pressure and the last thing you need is to add to it over Christmas.
Shopping on the high street can be extremely frustrating, especially closer to the holidays, so if you can avoid the weekends. Next year, start earlier to enjoy the quiet high-streets away from the Christmas madness. There are many sales on during September, October and November, especially instore.
See if you can get the kids to a play date so they don’t get dragged along kicking and screaming, literally…
A list is a stress busting essential. Not only does it ensure you stay on budget and that you don’t forget great aunt Esmerelda, but it helps keep you focused. Write down the names of all the people who are due Christmas gifts this year, work out how much you can afford to spend and allocate funds accordingly.
Try and do as much of your Christmas shopping online as you can – just get a move on or you might find that things are not delivered in time!
The internet shelves are bursting with special offers, deals, vouchers, and sales that you can take advantage of with a little cunning. Hunt for items on your list using Google Shopping or a popular deal site, wait patiently for special offers to kick in, and use vouchers wherever possible. Do watch out for hidden delivery charges…
Other tips for a stress-free Christmas include checking your junk mail for deals (as horrible as that may sound), taking advantage of bulk buy deals on food and Christmas essentials, and taking a break in the middle of a shopathon to stroke your clever buys and reward yourself with a coffee.